Salt powers England to chase down 170 in 15th over to level series

Source: AFP

LAHORE: England’s opening batter Phil Salt wreaked havoc over the Pakistan bowling line-up as the touring side sealed the sixth T20I with eight wickets and 33 balls to force a series decider, scheduled on Sunday.

Set to chase 170, England comfortably steered to a much-needed victory in just the 15th over, thanks to a quickfire knock of their opening batter Salt, who charged on the host’s bowlers right from the first over.

England’s opening pair of Alex Hales and Salt gave the touring side a flying start as they amassed fifty runs in just three overs.

Following England’s flying start, Pakistan captain Babar Azam then brought Shadab Khan into the attack, who struck in his first over to hand the home side a highly anticipated breakthrough as he removed Hales for 27, who faced just 12 boundaries and smashed four boundaries and a six.

Hales’ dismissal did not bother Salt much as he continued to attack the Pakistan bowling attack and put on another scintillating partnership with Dawid Malan.

The pair continued their domination over Pakistan bowlers and added 73 runs for the second wicket at a rapid pace before Shadab struck again to remove the left-hander. Malan scored 26 off 18 deliveries.

Ben Duckett then joined Salt in the middle and put on a match-winning 42-run partnership to steer the touring side to the victory.

Salt top-scored for the side with a brilliant 88 off just 41 deliveries, laced with 13 boundaries and three sixes, while Duckett remained not-out on 26, facing just 16.

Shadab was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan as he bagged two wickets for 34, while the rest remained clueless in front of the strong English batting line-up.

Batting first on the invitation of England’s captain Moeen Ali, the hosts had an unwanted start to their inning as debutant Mohammad Haris fell cheaply after managing to score a mere seven.

Following the early halt, Shan Masood, too, could not settle things down as David Willey trapped him in legs for a duck and Pakistan, as a result, slipped to 15/2 in the fourth over.

Haider Ali then joined his captain Babar in the middle and attempted to anchor the inning as the pair added an important 47 runs for the third wicket.

Haider, however, miscued one while pulling a shorter delivery off Sam Curran in the ninth over and walked back to the pavilion in disgust after scoring 18.

Iftikhar Ahmed then looked to turn things around with Babar and scored a quickfire cameo as the duo took Pakistan to 110 in the 15th over.

The hard-hitting batter, however, could not continue his brilliance and fell victim to Curran. He scored 31 off just 21 deliveries with the help of two boundaries and as many sixes.

Babar, on the other hand, held his ground firm and kept the scoreboard ticking while the home side lost their explosive batter, Asif Ali, for a mere nine.

Mohammad Nawaz played a crucial knock of 12 not-out and supported Babar in the death overs. Pakistan captain led from the front and top-scored for the side with a magnificent 87 off 59 deliveries, laced with seven boundaries and three sixes.

For England, Curran and Willey bagged two wickets each, while Richard Gleeson and Reece Topley struck out a batter each.